Let's look at the winners.
This group includes young people who can stay on their parents' policies until they are 26. This is a good thing in a region where so many people are working two or even three jobs to survive. And the AARP estimates that Americans ages 20-29 will save $700-$4,000 per year on their health insurance, also a positive development.
The losers in this new plan in our community include the elderly, as the new plan allows the insurance companies to charge these individuals at a higher rate. Older people will now pay approximately five times what younger people pay, rendering insurance out of reach for many seniors.
Lower-income individuals in our valley who rely on Medicaid will be in serious jeopardy, as this bill would end Medicaid as we currently know it. This includes children, who might have no recourse in the event of a serious illness.
The winners in the new health plan will be the wealthy, as health care tax credits will no longer be based on income. The new plan will make a priority of repealing substantially all the tax increases in Obamacare, most of which fall on people who make over $200,000 a year
Cancer is the largest cause of personal bankruptcy in our country for working Americans. The out of pocket (after insurance) costs to treat cancer can exceed $50,000-$100,000 per year, which will be prohibitive for those with or without insurance.
Another issue that has not gotten much attention in the media is that without health insurance, more and more people will be using their local hospital's emergency room for their medical care. This means that the cost of uninsured patients in our valley will shift to Memorial Hospital, which could over time seriously jeopardize this valued institution's financial viability. It also means that an abdominal cat scan with contrast, with an actual cost of approximately $295 to the hospital, will cost patients thousands of dollars.
In New Hampshire, the cost to the patient for this procedure ranges from $750 to $2,200. This is because community hospitals such as Memorial will be forced to subsidize the healthcare of those individuals who cannot afford insurance or who are unable or unwilling to pay their bill.
Let's for a moment forget about which side of the aisle you sit on ... Democrat or Republican. Let's think about how our choices about health care will impact our neighbors, the elderly, the disabled, our children and our local hospital. This is a choice that will impact thousands of individuals in our own backyard. We are hopeful that there will be a consensus as to the importance of looking out for those of us who rely on affordable health insurance to live full and healthy lives.
Leonissa Langbehn-Abraham, North Conway
Anita Burroughs, Glen
Tom Dean, North Conway
Brenda Donnelly, Conway
Karla Ficker, Fryeburg
Suzie Laskin, Chatham
Stephanie Macomber, Conway
Virginia Moore, Conway
Sandi Poor, Jackson
Denise Sachse, Jackson
Allan Stam, Jr., MD, Jackson
Kathleen Stam, Jackson
Bert Weiss, Chatham